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Foghat - Last Train Home

Foghat Records

12 songs; 60:25 minutes

Styles: Boogie Blues; Blues-Rock Boogie

I was a huge Foghat fan as a teenager in the late 70s. I enjoyed their brand of boogie rock and roll with a funky bass guitar and a sense of humor. Their latest CD is promoted as a “blues” album, and I was curious to hear just how bluesy the album is. I also knew that they had lost original members in recent years and was curious to hear how much the current band sounded like the band I grew up with. Original guitarist and vocalist “Lonesome” Dave Peverett died of cancer in 2000. Slide guitar player Rod Price passed away from a heart attack in 2005. Drummer Roger Earl is the only remaining original member as original bassist Tony Stevens left in 1975. “Last Train Home” is the culmination of a dream shared by Roger and “Lonesome” Dave to release a blues album including many of their favorite songs.

As the liner notes state, “Foghat recording a blues album is not a huge stretch of the imagination.” Many of their early albums included a blues cover or two. The songs on the new CD include seven covers and three original songs. The first song on the album is an original, “Born for the Road.” It is a catchy, toe-tapping shuffle but more southern rock than blues. The song slows near the end and some nice piano and harmonica can be heard. The original title song, “Last Train Home,” and a couple of the covers, also have more of a southern rock feel.

The first blues song on the CD is a cover of Otis Rush’s “So Many Roads, So Many Trains.” It is a slow blues with soulful guitar playing that reminded me a lot of one of my favorites, Gary Moore. The band also covers a number of blues classics: a pair of songs by slide guitar wizard Elmore James (“Shake Your Moneymaker” and “It Hurts Me Too”) and a couple closely associated with another master slide guitarist, Muddy Waters (“Louisiana Blues” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin’”). These covers are all straightforward versions with plenty of tasty slide guitar by guitarist Bryan Bassett.

As a special treat that adds additional blues authenticity, the last two songs are by special guest Eddie "Gypsy of the Blues" Kirkland. When the first song, “In My Dreams,” started playing, I had to check my iPod to be sure it hadn’t somehow skipped over to a Magic Slim CD. These are certainly authentic blues songs with a biting clean-toned guitar played with a lifetime of feeling. Mr. Kirkland was still going strong at 86 years old, but he sadly died February 27, 2011 as the result of an automobile accident!

On “Last Train Home” the band gives the Foghat boogie treatment to many of their favorite blues songs. Their versions continue in the blues-rock boogie style that I first heard from them almost 40 years ago. There is plenty of very good guitar playing in the dual slide and lead guitar style heard on their early albums. The boogie-woogie piano and harmonica heard on quite a few songs is a nice addition, especially on the original instrumental, “495 Boogie.” Although the singer, Charlie Huhn, doesn’t sound much like “Lonesome” Dave, he does a solid job; his voice reminding me of some of the southern rock bands I also listened to in the 70s.

I do miss the humor and the funky breaks heard in of some of their classic songs like “Slow Ride.” But, you can certainly sense the respect they have for the music and the fun they have playing it. “Lonesome” Dave would have been proud to be a part of this CD.

Review Jeff White is a “Friend of the Blues” living in the Kankakee IL area.

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